the oregonian

A response to the pro-car perspective

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 26th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

“Cars — in whatever their future form may be — are here to stay. But so are bikes, transit and walking.”
— Op-ed in The Oregonian

A strange thing happened after Metro released a major new household travel survey last month. Despite the survey showing big increases in the rate of bicycle and transit use for central city residents since the last time the survey was done in 1994, The Oregonian seemed to frame it as proof that cars are still king in our region. The O’s Commuting reporter Joseph Rose also accused Metro of trying to spin the story to further their, “smart-growth battle against the unhealthy, polluting, life-sucking automobile.”

And then, right on cue, The Oregonian Editorial Board weighed in with this headline, People like their cars, a fact that Portland planners must take into account.

To counter that framing of the issue, local transportation expert Chris Smith and real estate developer Randy Miller penned an op-ed of their own. It’s now several weeks later, but it was finally published in the opinion section of Sunday’s paper.[Read more…]

On paving vs “bike routes”, The Oregonian got it wrong

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 21st, 2012 at 12:41 pm

On Monday, I tried to share the truth behind The Oregonian’s extremely misleading “Portland’s Road to Ruin” article. That story, written by Beth Slovic and edited by Michelle Brence, has led many of its readers to believe that the Portland Bureau of Transportation was so focused on building “bike routes” they wouldn’t do any street paving until 2017.

Today I want to clear up some confusion around that article and clarify that not only do I believe it was purposefully edited to misinform the public; but that upon further examination, it contains factual errors that should be corrected.

To The Oregonian’s credit, the article did mention (albeit in the eighth paragraph) that some paving would be done, but that it would be only “minor repaving projects.” When I first published my critique on Monday, Slovic felt my opening paragraph was inaccurate because I stated that she claimed PBOT was, “spending so much on “bike routes” they had nothing left for paving.” Slovic was correct. I should have chosen those words more carefully. I edited that sentence to make it clear I felt her story created an inaccurate narrative but that it did indeed include all the facts.

But that was before I knew all the facts. Now I think it’s important for the community to know that the article was both misleading and inaccurate.

[Read more…]

Mayor Adams, BTA, Portland Mercury pile on rebuttals to The Oregonian

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 28th, 2012 at 10:54 am

Adams in a guest op-ed today.

Lest you think my repeated criticisms of the way The Oregonian frames transportation issues was just my personal axe to grind, it’s worth noting that the front page story in their Sunday edition is being called out from many corners.

In addition to the numerous intelligent citizens we’ve heard from in the comments, now Mayor Sam Adams, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), and even The Portland Mercury have issued detailed rebuttals to the now infamous, “Portland’s Roads to Ruin” story by The Oregonian’s Beth Slovic.[Read more…]

The Oregonian: Bikes to blame for potholes, PBOT budget mess

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 27th, 2012 at 9:09 am

Give me a break.

Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. The Oregonian’s strange, anti-bike editorial last week, seems to have laid the groundwork for Sunday’s front page story that unfairly and inaccurately blames bikes for PBOT’s budget problems.

As you can see from the front page image, under massive font that reads, “Portland’s Roads to Ruin” is the sub-headline, “What’s a priority? Bike routes, conferences, and staff. What’s not? Repaving and cleaning your crumbling roads.”[Read more…]

The Oregonian’s stance on bicycling (My opinion on their opinion)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on February 22nd, 2012 at 2:21 pm

The Oregonian Editorial Board weighed in on the state of bicycling in Portland today. The editorial appeared on the same week that PBOT released its annual bike counts showing a 6.4% increase between 2010 and 2011.

Whenever our state’s newspaper of record devotes major opinion space to bicycling, it’s worth noting. Regardless of what you think about The Oregonian, the fact remains they own an influential voice that helps frame the conversation. In Biking the path to urban health, The O’s Editorial Board seems to give a big thumbs up to bicycling in general, but when you look more closely, their opinion isn’t quite as clear.
[Read more…]

The Oregonian strikes again: And it’s not just about the numbers

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 17th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Last night, The Oregonian’s commuting reporter and columnist Joseph Rose published an article about Portland Mayor Sam Adams’ budget decisions. The article, Portland Mayor Sam Adams boosts funding for bike projects, but now there’s less for paving streets, attempts to make the point that Adams’ decision to allocate a larger percentage of discretionary revenue to “bike projects” comes at the expense of “motor vehicle projects.”

Not surprisingly, the article has spurred hundreds of comments, many of them by angry Portlanders who don’t like the idea of any spending that benefits bicycling and who feel Adams’ priorities are not in the right place.

Seem like a déjà vu? Unfortunately, it’s not out of character for him or for The Oregonian to frame a bike news story in a way that makes readers take sides. Whether it’s referring to a “cold war” on our streets and warning of an impending “backlash” against people who ride bikes, dropping an inaccurate and biased story on the Idaho Stop proposal the day before it was heard by legislators, or sensationalizing road rage to sell papers (which they later admitted to) — we’ve seen this happen time and time again. [Read more…]

The Oregonian: “Massive therapeutic intervention” needed to make roads safer for all

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 10th, 2010 at 9:01 am

The Oregonian Editorial Board published a timely piece in today’s paper about the need for all of us who drive to take stock of our actions and do a better job looking out for people walking and biking on our roads. Here’s the opening:

Hey, you.

You need to have a “full and frank” conversation with yourself this evening. Looking in the mirror, you the driver ought to give you the walker a piece of your mind, and then switch roles.

Quite simply, both of you — and all of us — need to do a better job of paying attention. This year is shaping up as a terrible one for Oregon pedestrians.

[Read more…]

Oregonian guest opinion piece: Bikes are the newest “must-have fashion accessory”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 29th, 2009 at 9:28 am

Cirque du Cycling-20.jpg

An “ultra-hip bike culture effete”
and her fashion accessory.
(Photo © J. Maus)

I noticed an interesting opinion piece in The Oregonian this morning that claims that the “newest local outdoor must-have fashion accessory” is the “walked bicycle.”

In the article, author/journalist/bike commuter Lawrence J. Maushard of Southeast Portland, seems almost perturbed by the number of people who walk with their bikes on our city’s sidewalks. I’m not sure why good looking people walking bikes causes so much consternation with Mr. Maushard (does he dislike eco-conscious people? is he just a hipster hater?), but it makes for an interesting read:

Here’s an excerpt:[Read more…]

Portland Police get criticism for handling of bike light case

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on March 24th, 2009 at 10:58 am

Oregonian columnist
Steve Duin.

Oregonian columnist Steve Duin has published pointed criticisms directed at the Portland Police Bureau’s handling of the Freedom Child bike light case in his column today.

Freedom Child is the 57-year old St. Johns woman who was involved with an altercation with two Police officers back in 2003. Child claims she was walking her bike down the sidewalk when Officers Jeffrey Dorn and Jason Harris reportedly pulled up alongside her in an unmarked car and began questioning her. Those questions ultimately led to Child being followed and then, according to Duin, “dragged…out of her home” and then arrested. [Read more…]

Local media releases hounds on Idaho Stop law

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on March 18th, 2009 at 7:25 am

“And you’re scratching your head wondering when was the last time you saw one actually stop.”
— Harry Esteve, The Oregonian

It’s the BTA’s worst nightmare.

They’ve spent months preparing for the smooth passage of the Idaho Stop Law (the proposed bill, HB 2690, would allow bicycle operators to enter a stop-sign controlled intersection without stopping when safe, and once they’ve yielded to all other traffic). Members of their legislative committee have traveled to Idaho to speak with transportation planners and law enforcement officials about the law (which has been on the books there since the 1980s without incident). The BTA’s legislative team has also spent countless hours working the Salem offices of our state legislators answering their questions and clearing up their confusions about the proposed law.

Then, in one fell swoop, the largest media outlet in the entire state can pen a story that pans the idea — and it’s not even on the editorial page.[Read more…]